Vol.4, No.5B, 61-64 (2013) Agricultural Sciences
Amino acid composition of droughtmaster beef at
various beef cuts
Zainal Samicho, Siti Roha Ab Mutalib*, Noriham Abdullah
Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Malaysia;
*Corresponding Author: siti_roha23@yahoo.com.my
Received 2013
A total of 14 parts of beef cuts were used to de-
termine the amino acid composition in drought-
master beef. Drought-master beef is a cross
breed tropical cattle with 50% Shorthorn and
50% Brahman cattle. The most abundant type of
amino acid in drought-master beef was glutamic
acid, followed by aspartic acid, lysine, leucine
and arginine. The flank cut of beef was found to
contain higher amount of total amino acids fol-
lowed by top side and short rib cut of beef. The
amino acid composition of drought-master beef
indicates that beef is a good source of dietary
protein for human.
Keywords: Amino Acid; Droughtmaster Beef; Beef
Cut and Acid hydrolysis
Beef has an excellent nutritional quality because it has
proteins of high biological value, it is rich in vitamin
contents, especially B-complex, and it is associated to a
high mineral content, especially iron, in high bioavail-
ability form [1]. Beef contains all the amino acids in
about the right proportions required by humans [2].
Many studies deal with the opportunities of enhancing
the beneficial fatty acids (increasing the n-3 polyunsatu-
rated fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) and
reducing saturated fatty acids (SFA)) in beef, but little is
known about the alteration of other nutritional ingredi-
ents (amino acid composition and mineral content) in
beef [3,4].
Meat and meat products are good sources of protein
for human consumption. These proteins are well bal-
anced in amino acid and contain all essential amino acid
that human cannot be synthesized. However, because of
health effect some people cannot consumed meat. Ac-
cording to [5], several essential amino acids such as leu-
cine and phenylalanine and non essential amino acid
such as arginine and glutamine, have shown to directly
stimulate insulin secretion from pancreatic beta-cells, so
as it has beneficial therapeutic effect in patient with type
2 diabetes.
Droughtmaster beef is mixed tropical cattle 50%
Shorthorn and 50% Brahman cattle. It can stand with hot
and humid conditions resist to tick and good reproduc-
tion. Up to date, there is no amino acid study on beef
species droughtmaster have been done and there are few
studies focused on amino acid in different beef cut.
Therefore, the aim of the experiments was to establish
different amino acid content in different droughtmaster
beef cut.
Amino acid kit (AccQ Tag) was purchased from Wa-
ters. All other chemicals were purchased from Sigma.
Beef were purchased from Rantau Panjang, Selangor,
2.1. Preparation of Beef
14 parts of beef cut were used in this study. The parts
are neck clod, short rib, shin, flank, rump, brisket, thick
flank, top side, silver side, thin rib, thick rib, chuck blade,
sirloin and leg.
2.2. Acid Hydrolysis
The amino acid composition of the samples was ana-
lyzed by digesting the samples for 24 hour at 110℃ in
an oven with 5 ml of 6 N HCl in sealed glass test tubes.
The aliquot of the hydrolysate was taken and 0.4 ml
AABA (alpha amino butyric acid (50 μmol ml-1)) was
added to it as the internal standard. Then 100 ml of de-
ionized water was added to the aliquot. This aliquot was
then filtered using whatman filter paper No.1 followed
by a syringe filter.
2.3. Derivatization of Amino Acids with
l Carbamate (AQC)
A cleaned syringe was used to deliver 10 μL filtrate of
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/as/
Z. Samicho et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 61-64
acid hydrolysis to the bottom of a cleaned 6 × 50 mm
sample tube. A 70 μL of AccQ•Fluor Borate Buffer (Re-
agent 1) was then added to the sample tube by using a
micropipette. The sample tube was vortexed briefly prior
to adding of 20 μL of reconstituted AccQ•Fluor Reagent
to the sample tube. After vortexed for several seconds,
the sample tube was let to stand for 1 minute at room
2.4. Preparation of Internal Standard and
Calibration Standard
The internal standard, AABA stock solution was used
to prepare the calibration standard. To prepare a 50
μmol/mL internal standard stock solution, 0.258 g AABA
was added to 50 mL 0.1N HCl. Prior to the preparation
of the calibration standard with an internal standard, 1
mL of 50 μmol/mL internal standard stock solution was
transferred to a cleaned 20 mL volumetric flask. The
solution was then made up to 20 mL with 0.1 N HCl until
the final concentration of the internal standard solution
was 2.5 μmol/mL. The calibration standard consisted of
1:1 (v/v) mixture of Pierce H amino acid standard (which
contained 2.5 μmol/mL of each amino acid standard,
except for 1.25 μmol/mL of cystine) and a 2.5 μmol/mL
of AABA. Typically, a calibration standard with an in-
ternal standard was prepared by combined 80 μL 2.5
μmol/mL AABA with 80 μL Pierce H and then was made
up with 840 μL deionized water in a 1000 μL cleaned
vial. A volume of 10 μL calibration standard (contains of
2 nmol of each standard amino acid components) was
transferred from the 1:1 (v/v) mixture of Pierce H amino
acid standard, and 2.5 μmol/mL of AABA was placed in
a derivatisation tube and carried through the same deri-
vatisation procedure as mentioned earlier.
2.5. HPLC Analysis of Amino Acids
The Waters AccQ•Tag amino acid analysis method
requires a fluorescence detector. The excitation wave-
length was 285 nm, the emission wavelength was 354
nm, filter and gain set were 1.5 second and 10, respec-
tively. Eluent A and Eluent B were AccQ•Tag concen-
trate and 60% acetonitrile: water, respectively. The col-
umn temperature was set at 37℃. The Column (Waters
AccQ•Tag) was first conditioned with Eluent B at 1
mL/min flow rate for 5 minutes. This was followed by
equilibrating the column in 100% AccQ•Tag Eluent A for
9 minutes at the same flow rate. Consistent period of the
equilibration was kept for all the analysis. A blank was
carried out before each analysis to determine baseline
performance. The gradient shown in Table 1 was used in
the process of analyzing amino acids using HPLC. The
total time between injections to end of the analysis was
50 minutes.
Table 1. Gradient table for amino acids analysis using HPLC.
Time (mi n)Flow rate (mL/min) %A %B
Initial 1.0 100.0 0.0
0.50 1.0 98.0 2.0
15.0 1.0 90.0 10.0
19.0 1.0 87.0 13.0
32.0 1.0 65.0 35.0
33.0 1.0 65.0 35.0
34.0 1.0 0.0 100.0
37.0 1.0 0.0 100.0
38.0 1.0 100.0 0.0
50.0 1.0 100.0 0.0
2.6. Statistical Analysis
All data were expressed as mean ± standard deviation.
Data were analysed using one-way ANOVA using SPSS
15.0. Duncan’s multiple-range test was used to determine
the difference between means. A significant difference
was considered at the level of p < 0.05.
Droughtmaster beef was used in this study and it was
divided into 14 parts of beef cut. The method used in this
study only allowed analysis of 17 amino acids. These
amino acids were arginine, lysine, valine, threonine, leu-
cine, tyrosine, histidine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, me-
thionine, cysteine, glycine, proline, alanine, glutamic
acid, aspartic acid and serine. Upon acid hydrolysis, as-
paragines and glutamine could be hydrolyzed to aspartic
acid and glutamic acid, respectively. Thus, the content of
aspartic acid represents the total content of asparagines
and aspartic acid, and the same applies to glutamic acid.
Tryptophan is destroyed upon acid hydrolysis, thus was
not measured in this study.
Table 2 shows the amino acids content in different
beef cuts. The amino acid content is presented as gram
amino acid/ 100 gram total amino acids. The major
components of amino acid were glutamic acid, followed
by aspartic acid, lysine, leucine and arginine. There was
significant difference at the 5% level in the amino acid
contents among 14 parts of beef cuts tested.
The content of aspartic acid, serine, glutamic acid, ar-
ginine, threonine, valine, methionine, lysine, isoleucine,
leucine and phenylalanine was significantly higher in
flank cut of beef part. This finding was in agreement
with studied done by [6] on the amino acid content in
fresh and cooked beef cuts. Furthermore, the content of
certain amino acid such as tyrosine, alanine and histidine
were significantly higher in top side of beef cut. On the
other hand, proline and glycine was significantly higher
in short rib and cysteine was higher in thick flank of beef
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/as/
Z. Samicho et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 61-64
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Openly accessible at
Z. Samicho et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 61-64
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/as/
In summary there is no general pattern correlation
between the beef cut and amino acid content in beef.
When comparing between different parts of beef cut, the
amino acid content in beef cut were almost similar. The
most abundant amino acid in beef (in decreasing order)
was glutamic acid, aspartic acid, lysine, leucine, cysteine,
arginine, glycine and phenylalanine. However, histidine
and methionine were present in much lower amount
which was in agreement with [6]. The essential amino
acid comprised more than 40% of total amino acid con-
tent of beef cut. The total amino acid content for neck
clod, short rib, shin, flank, rump, brisket, thick flank, top
side, silver side, thin rib, thick rib, chuck blade, sirloin
and leg were 16.36, 20.50, 14.31, 28.02, 19.95, 19.71,
14.94, 23.70, 15.68, 14.26, 10.33, 14.71, 12.00 and 10.49
(g/100 g of sample) respectively.
When comparing this research finding with previous
studied done by [6], there is slightly different in the
amount of amino acid content. The rationale for this may
be due to different species of beef, animal age, effect of
feeding high or low amino acid compound, processing
[7], slaughter weight and gender [8].
With regards the uses of amino acid, several essential
amino acids such as leucine and phenylalanine and non
essential amino acid such as arginine and glutamine,
have shown to directly stimulate insulin secretion from
pancreatic beta-cells, so as it has beneficial therapeutic
effect in patient with type 2 diabetes [5] and [9]. Ac-
cording to [10], 1 mmol/kg lean body mass leucine plus
25 g glucose will synergistically stimulate insulin secre-
tion. Another function of leucine is to stimulate protein
synthesis, inhibit protein degradation and nutrient sig-
naling molecule [10]. Amino acids are also important in
healing process. Deficiency in essential amino acids may
hinder healing recovery process [11]. Leucine promotes
the healing of bones, skin and muscle tissue. Isoleucine
is necessary for haemoglobin formation, stabilizing and
regulating blood sugar and energy. Glycine, which is one
of the major components of human skin collagen, to-
gether with other essential amino acids such as alanine
form a polypeptide that will promote regrowth and tissue
healing [12].
The amino acid composition of beef cut showed that it
is a good source of dietary amino acid. With regard to its
nutritional value, beef provides all the essential amino
acids needed by human. The essential amino acid cannot
be manufactured by human bodies but can be obtained
from food. Flank cut of beef is found rich in leucine
which is type of essential amino acid that can stimulate
insulin secretion.
Special thanks to Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia for fund-
ing this project under Fundamental Research Grant Scheme [600-RMI/
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